Participating in a maritime recruitment or job fair is a great way for shipowners and managers to become acquainted with seafarers and cadets and add them to their candidate database. And they also provide you with stealth opportunities to identify top talent and establish a connection with standout seamen before everyone gets their hands on them!
How maritime recruitment fairs can boost your candidate database
There can be any number of reasons why you’re struggling to fill vacancies. Maybe your job adverts need rewriting to make them clearer. Or perhaps you need to be more active on social media. That’s why using a multi-pronged approach when it comes to maritime recruitment in an industry as specialized as shipping makes sense.
And a careers fair is a great way of advertising your vacant maritime jobs to a large, captive and mostly relevant audience all over the course of one or two days.
But how do you make sure your jobs at sea are the ones getting all the attention?
If you’re attending a general job fair, for example at a local university or college, as a shipping company you probably won’t have too many issues standing out. However if you’re setting up shop at a specialist maritime careers fair you’re going to have to work a little harder.
Chances are you’re going to be in the same room as one of your biggest competitors. And if you’re particularly unlucky you might even find you’ve been allocated the booth right next to them!
First impressions really do count
Yes it’s a cliche, but that’s because it’s true: first impressions do matter and you’ll only have a couple of seconds to grab the attention of potential new recruits. That’s why it’s vital to really catch the eye and make a lasting impression on anyone who happens to pass by your stand.
There’s no two ways about it, you need to convey professionalism and excellence.
And you don’t have to be a big multinational maritime company to achieve that. Even if you’re at the smaller end of the scale (and have a budget to match) providing your booth is smart and well organized and you can offer attendees something genuinely useful and/or informative to take away with them, you should see some signs of success.
Choose your brand ambassadors wisely
Job seekers primarily attend recruitment fairs for one of two reasons: 1) to find a job or 2) to find out more about a particular career. In your case that will be careers at sea, entry level cargo ship jobs, and hopefully, if they have potential, a career with your shipping company and a spot on your candidate database.
That means that the employees you choose to man your booth should be real advocates for your organization.
They need to be personable and enthusiastic - and not just along for the ride and a day out of the office! Most importantly, they need to be fully equipped to answer any questions budding seafarers ask about your company and the maritime industry in general.
It will also be of immense value if your brand ambassadors can talk about your company with genuine conviction and provide real-life examples of their positive experiences working for you.
Graduates and cadets in particular will be interested in finding out how your representatives started and progressed their maritime careers, especially if they are relatively young.
Prep your brand ambassadors
So that your booth staff are able to talk confidently and knowledgeably about your company and the maritime job vacancies you are looking to fill, you need to ensure they’re well prepared.
They need to be able to convince talented seafarers who are looking for jobs at sea that your company is THE place to work. They should be able to list the main benefits of embarking on a career with you, and be able to outline opportunities for career advancement and training.
As a side note, you might be surprised how many younger seafarers ask about on-the-job training: studies have shown that for the next generation of employees (across all industries) work-life balance, benefits, and career development can even rank higher in importance than salary.
Know your audience
It’s also important for your ambassadors to be able to alter their tone depending on who they’re talking to.
A seafarer who already has experience in the maritime industry won’t need to know the basics of shipping, but will want to know what you can offer them in terms of employment at sea.
When it comes to talking to students or cadets at maritime recruitment fairs, don’t waste too much time telling them the company basics. Direct them to your website, your LinkedIn profile or your other social media accounts for that. Instead, attempt to pique their interest in your organization and a life at sea by asking about their areas of interest and tying that in with your vacant entry level cargo ship jobs.
Read more: Why Your Shipping Company Needs a Social Media Presence
Seal the deal
If one of your goals is to recruit seafaring candidates at the job fair and add them to your candidate database, keep in mind that they’re not just there to see you. They have a whole room to cover and other shipping companies to speak to. Yes, it might be tempting to try and monopolize a potentially great new recruit but they won’t thank you for it.
And at the end of the day if you’re the only company they’ve spoken to they’ll be more likely to go home and carry on exploring options, and less likely to give you their commitment.
Therefore if you want applicants to complete any forms, or simply register their interest, make it quick and easy for them. If your usual application form is ten pages long, create a simplified ‘job fair version’ which will just take them a minute or two to complete.
That way they won’t remember you as the company that sucked all their precious time and had loads of annoying paperwork to fill out - and you can fill in the blanks later on during the actual recruitment process.
A few ad hoc benefits of recruitment fairs
As well as recruiting new contractors for your candidate database and letting job seekers know what a great place your company is to work, job fairs are also an opportunity for shipowners and managers to promote their organization and its services within the community.
While it won’t be your primary focus, don’t lose sight of the fact that you could also make some useful connections among your peers.
For new small to medium sized shipping companies, a job fair is also a chance to establish a presence and further endorse your company brand among your associates within the industry.
And let’s be honest - it’s also a good excuse to be able to check out the competition and see exactly what it is they’re doing!
How Martide can propel your maritime recruitment drive forward
If the thought of attending careers fairs leaves you feeling exhausted or if you simply don’t have the time, money or human resources, talk to Martide.
As a specialist maritime recruitment agency we make hiring crew far easier by posting your shipping vacancies on our maritime jobs board and then promoting them across our social media accounts. The combination of our website and mobile app ensures that your open seafarer jobs appear in front of the right people immediately - wherever in the world they are.
Read more: How to Connect with Martide on Social Media
Whether you’re looking for a ship’s master or for cadets for your candidate database, don’t limit your recruitment drive to just one location.
Through Martide’s online maritime recruitment and crewing software solution you’ll have access to our candidate database of seafarers as well as those on the books of international manning agents. That means you’ll have a global pool of qualified candidates to choose your crew from.
Even better, our applicant tracking crewing system helps you streamline and manage every step of your recruitment process, making your life easier and your time to hire shorter.
Want to find out more about filling your seafarer jobs with Martide? Contact us now for a chat or to arrange a no-strings-attached demo!
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